You can’t win a race if you don’t cross the finish line. You can’t win hockey games unless you finish your chances. I believe it was Wayne Gretzky that once said you’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I will add to the Great One’s quote that you don’t win 100% of the games you don’t finish.
That was the problem on offense tonight.
On defense? It pains me to write this but Jonathan Bernier was not sharp, not Sharp but sharp.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Kings were 3-6-1 against the Hawks in the last 10 on the road. Even worse, they had lost 4 straight in Chicago. As far as I was concerned, that just meant we were due. Unfortunately, that theory will have to wait for another day.
The first goal against Bernier went in on the short side. A bad goal? Kind of. It was deflected by Whiskey but Bernier did not cover his left post well.
The Kings tied the game on a snipe by Justin Williams. It looked like a broken play but Willie out hustled a certain Norris Trophy defenseman and threaded the needle from the right side over and/or through Turco. Make no mistake. Justin Williams is the Kings’ best forward right now and has been overall this season.
The Hawks’ second goal was uncharacteristic of Jonathan. One of my favorite qualities about his hybrid style is his ability to remain in position even when the attack is coming at him. That quality allows him to absorb and control rebounds. Not tonight though. Bernier struggled all game with rebound control and the second goal could not have been a better illustration. I will discuss this goal and the rebound control issue more in the Goalie Tracker page at the top of your screen.
After Chicago’s second goal, the Kings dominated in many respects. By the end of the second period and through the early to the mid point of the third, the Kings owned the crease. They got the shots on goal, they got rebounds, they hit posts, they had Turco looking like the hack he is but they simply could not finish. The defining moment came when the Kings got the powerplay midway through the third. For most of the powerplay, they could not even set up and from that point forward, the momentum slowly shifted to neutral.
Patrick Sharp finished it on yet another poor effort or, better written, miss by Bernier who got nothing but ice on the poke check and was left with no place to go. Sharp also made Rob Scuderi look a little bad by blowing past him wide from the left side and to the goal.
A few tidbits:
- I counted Ryan Smyth falling to the ice 17 times. Ok, I exaggerate. It was 16.
- Scuderi had a rough game. He was beat to the net on the Hawks’ second goal and blown past on Chicago’s third.
- The officials blew it on one play. In the third, the Kings crashed the net, picked up the rebound, Turco was doing his dying fish impression and with the puck loose and just before Williams put it in the net, the zebra blew the whistle. Frustrating.
- The Kings struggled in the first and part of the second mostly due to time of possession. When a team cannot control the puck and the play in the offensive zone, that team naturally spends an inordinate amount of time paying defense.
- We couldn’t get a bounce or a break. When Poni hit the post with 6:19 left in the game, I nearly swallowed my heart. Alas, it was not meant to be tonight.
- Patrick Sharp is exactly that.
- Sometimes I think Dustin Brown is trying to pad his stats with some of the shots he takes on net. Look, I get the shot mentality but a weak wrister with no traffic in front and from a sharp angle generally does nothing but kill the rush. I realize Turco is in net, but come on.
- Speaking of Turco, he is an awful goalie. He is not a butterfly, and he is not a standup. He is a hybrid…a cross between a breakdancer and a mackerel out of water. I don’t hate the Blackhawks. They have never brought out the same loathing contempt in me as the Canucks, Red Wings, Ducks and Bears (the Hershey kind, not the boring sport with 15 minutes of action). But if they think they are getting anywhere deep in the playoffs with that between the pipes, they may be smoking more than the latter.
Categories: L.A. Kings News